Best Free (and Cheap) Things to Do in Bali
Bali is known for its ancient temples, beautiful beaches and tropical vibes.
Over one million tourists from around the world visit Bali every year and in the past decade prices have increased. There are thought still lots of incredible free and low cost activities.
If you’re an island-lover and want to experience the best of Bali on a budget then here are 5 amazing free things that you can do on this paradise island.
1. Discover the Campuhan Ridge Walk
The Campuhan Ridge Walk starts in Ubud and passes through rice fields, villas and traditional houses for around 2-3 km.
This gentle and relaxing walk is perfect for enjoying the sun and getting away from the hustle and bustle of Ubud. Stop off at Karsa Kafe for a cool drink and snack on your way back. Look out for Bali sun skinks sunbathing on the path, butterflies gliding over the grass, and kids flying their kites high in sky!
Be sure to take plenty of water with you as the ridge is exposed and it can get very hot. If you want to go when it’s slightly cooler then head out just before sunrise or sunset when the sun isn’t as fierce – you’ll also get to see the ridge bathed in beautiful golden light making this time a pretty good photo opportunity!
If you book an Indonesia tour a lot of operators visit here.
2. Explore the Ubud Rice Fields
The Tegallalang rice terraces are the most visited and photographed rice fields around Ubud, however if you don’t fancy paying or being joined by crowds of tourists then the best option would be to wander around the paddies closer to Ubud.
It’s easy to do, just find an entrance to some rice fields and start walking! You won’t meet many tourists along the way, just friendly farmers and there may be a few small hotels.
Choosing any random paddy to explore is probably the best way to discover Ubud’s famous rice fields, and being alone adds something to the experience.
Look out for ornate shrines in the middle of the paddies and listen out for handmade wind chimes, which all add to the magical and soothing atmosphere of these beautiful fields.
Bali is blessed with beautiful beaches, and visting is totally free!
Some of the best beaches to check out include Blue Point Beach, Geger Beach, Pemuteran, Bias Tugel Beach, Seminyak Beach and Kuta Beach.
4. Snorkel in the Crystal-clear Waters of Bali
If you like the idea of going scuba diving in Indonesia but don't have the budget, go snorkelling instead.
If you have your own snorkel gear then you’ll want to bring it to Bali!
One of the best snorkelling spots on the main island is Amed in the north east. Jemeluk Bay and Lipah Beach are great spots to see plenty of sea life!
A few metres off the beach at Jemeluk Bay you’ll start to see a vast number of brightly coloured tropical fish. Swim a bit further out to the reef drop-off and you’ll get to see bigger fish, large shoals and beautiful corals.
If you want to be a bit more adventurous then why don’t you snorkel around the Japanese shipwreck or the Liberty shipwreck, you won’t be disappointed – you can ask a local fisherman to take you out to these.
5. Go Coffee Tasting in Ubud
Coffee lover or not, a visit to the Kopi Luwak Coffee Farm near Ubud is a must.
Kopi luwak, also known as civet coffee, refers to coffee beans once they have been eaten and excreted by the Asian Palm civet. A guide will show you around the plantation and explain how the coffee is grown, eaten by the civets, harvested, and roasted and ground by hand.
You’ll get to sample 12 different drinks which are locally produced including vanilla and coconut coffee, Bali hot chocolate, and rice and lemongrass tea all for FREE. If you want to taste the Kopi luwak coffee then you can pay a small fee to try it out!
6. Visit Ubud Water Palace & Other Ubud Temples
Bali has some of the most impressive temples in Asia, and you’ll be pleased to know that there is no entrance fee for one of Ubud’s most beautiful buildings, the Ubud Water Palace.
This stunning site can be found in the centre of Ubud, and is surrounded by lotus and fish ponds, adding to the magical feeling of this place. Be sure to walk across the bridge across the lotus ponds so you can admire intricate architecture of the palace up close.
If you have some left over time in Ubud why don’t you explore some of the town’s back streets and see what hidden temples you can find? There are plenty.
7. Work in Bali
Getting paid to be in Bali would be a dream right?
One of the best ways to save money in Bali is to actually live and work in Indonesia. Thousands of foreigners are employed in a range of industries including tourism and education.
Working for travel operators, hotels, clubs, bars and resorts is a great way to move here. Teaching English in Indonesia is also really popular and there are schools hiring in Bali and the other main islands.
For something rewarding but usually unpaid you could apply to volunteer in Bali. There are lots of projects helping worthwhile local causes which usually include meals and accommodation allowing you to stay on a shoestring budget.
Plan a Cheap Trip to Bali
If you want a relaxing beach and cultured trip, or are keen to spend a gap year in Indonesia, you really need to visit Bali. Although some resorts are really expensive, you can find cheap accommodation from budget hotels to backpacker hostels. Visiting Bali really doesn't have to cost a fortune, and hopefully my guide has given you ideas how to visit on a budget.
By Eddie Font Freide